So I’d been meaning to pick up a copy of The God Delusion (as well as some other Atheist books) for a while now, since I figure I should probably be more familiar with Dawkins if I’m going to be doing an Atheist blog. Alas, I tend to put stuff off whenever I can, so actually going to a bookstore and buying a copy got put off until, well, now. But I had to go out to the malls and do Christmas shopping anyways, so I had the perfect opportunity.
As I was searching around for it, I got to thinking; I was surrounded by people looking for Christmas gifts, and here I was looking for a book on Atheism. I’ll admit, I felt a bit of schadenfreude-ish glee at the thought of the cashier giving me a dirty look for buying a book that denies the existence of Jesus’s dad while everyone else was out shopping for his birthday, and I may or may not have made a point of holding the book so that the title was clearly visible as I walked around the store.
And then I went to check out, expecting bigotry or anger, considering telling the cashier “Happy Holidays” to rub in the secularity of it…
The actual response I got, at first, was just plain old professional pleasantness. To be entirely honest I wasn’t really surprised, just a bit disappointed that I missed a chance to offend a Christian. But then the cashier picked up another book I had bought (which was Why I became an Atheist by John W. Loftus), and said she had been meaning to look into it. We got into a short conversation about it as I paid for the books, and she mentioned that she thought it was cool that I was interested in things like that, and then I went along my way.
When I write about it now, it seems like such a small, insignificant occurrence, but it was just so… nice. There have been so many stories about people getting in a huff about what we call Christmas trees, stories about people defacing Atheist signs and displays, talk of a “war on Christmas” perpetuated by Christians who want more rights than they already have, and countless other things too numerous to list.
In the context of all of that, experiencing pure, genuine tolerance is damned refreshing.